The Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) intend to work together to launch a joint call for research proposals which will support UK-Filipino health research collaborations.


The focus of this call is research into infectious diseases of relevance to the Philippines, particularly on diseases that impact the most vulnerable in society. This may include but is not limited to:

  • Dengue and dengue-like illness
  • Multidrug-resistant / extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB)
  • Drug-resistant malaria
  • Influenza-like illness
  • Leptospirosis
  • Sepsis
  • HIV
  • Hepatitis

Areas of particular research interest within the infectious disease space include:

  • Genomics and molecular technologies: for novel biomarker identification, with a focus on host and pathogen ‘omics and host-pathogen interactions
  • Diagnostics: Development of cost effective diagnostic tools (point of care; differential/discriminatory; confirmatory; early detection of most severe) for priority infectious diseases, utilizing or repurposing off-patent or lapsed and/or novel technologies
  • Vaccines and therapeutics: exploratory/applied research which might lead to the development of new more effective prevention or therapeutic strategies
  • Information and Communication Technology (ICT)/e-health: Development of user-friendly ICT solutions to accelerate the gathering and processing of health and related information for policymaking, and delivery of quality healthcare services

Support available

The funders wish to support the development and strengthening of new and existing UK-Filipino collaborations in the areas mentioned above.

Up to £640k will be available per partnership (£400k from UK, £240k from Philippines) to support activities over a 2/3 year period.

The total funding available for this call is as follows:

  • MRC – up to £2m (Funding provided to the successful UK applicants)
  • DOST-PCHRD – up to £1.2m (Funding provided to the successful Filipino applicants)

Applications will be required to have at least one UK Principal Investigator and at least one Filipino Principal Investigator. If appropriate, applications with industrial partners are welcomed (although no funding will be available to these partners).

The funders are looking to develop and strengthen UK-Filipino collaborations in this area, and support collaborations which will have a real impact in this field. Applicants must therefore successfully demonstrate the sustainability of the collaboration and the potential impact of the activities proposed.

Assessment Process and decision making process

To be funded, proposals must be internationally competitive and at a standard equivalent to that normally expected to be supported by each funding organisation.

Key assessment criteria for the submissions will be:

  • Significance and Impact of the research
  • Scientific Rationale: novelty, importance and timeliness of the research
  • Design and Feasibility of the Project Plan
  • Partnership: including strength and clarity of collaborations and opportunities provided, quality of the project management structure proposed
  • Quality and suitability of the research environment and of the facilities
  • Value for money for Filipino and UK science
  • Ethical considerations and governance arrangements.

Applications will be externally peer reviewed and assessed by a joint MRC-PCHRD Review Panel in November 2015.

How to apply

In order to identify peer reviewers and convene assessment panels in advance, it is important that researchers indicate their intention to submit a proposal. Please email an expression of interest as outlined below by Friday 19 June.

Applicant Role



Principal Investigator (UK)



Principal Investigator (Philippines)



List of all Co-investigators (stating whether UK or Philippines based)













Project Title



Summary of proposed project (maximum 200 words. Please  note: this may be used when  approaching potential reviewers in the first instance)



Full applications must be submitted by UK PI’s to MRC via the Je-S application system by 4pm, Thursday 16 July 2015


The deadline for Expressions of Interest to this call is 19th June 2015. Full applications must be submitted by 16th July 2015. Funding decisions will be made by December 2015. Funding would then start from January 2016.

Due to Newton Fund restrictions, all MRC funding must be complete by March 2019, meaning that research projects must end by 31st December 2018. Therefore, to support 3 year projects, the projects must begin by 1st Jan 2016. If supporting 2 year projects, the start dates can be delayed to later in 2016.


Joint assessment process:

Funding decisions would be made through a joint process. This would include:

  • a joint application received from both the UK and Filipino PIs,
  • MRC and PCHRD carry out eligibility and internal checks and agree which proposals will go forward for assessment
  • a joint peer review process including UK and Filipino academic reviews (plus other international reviewers as appropriate),
  • a joint panel meeting of academic experts including experts from both the UK and the Philippines – provide funding recommendations to MRC and PCHRD
  • MRC and the DOST-PCHRD Governing Council meet to approve the recommendations made by the panel and agree a list of projects they wish to fund.


Guidance for Applicants

UK-Philippines Expression of Interest Template

UK-Philippines Case for Support Template

DOST-PCHRD cost pro-forma


For further information, Filipino applicants should contact:

Mr. Paulo Landig

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tel: (632) 837 75 37


Mr. Nico Parungao

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tel: (632) 837 75 37


For further information, UK applicants should contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In the onset of summer 2015, the Department of Health (DOH) emphasized the importance of having “enjoyable and healthy summer,” as most people are busy doing usual activities like swimming and travelling.

In a statement, DOH Secretary Janette Loreto-Garin warned the public about six common summer diseases: sore eyes, sunburn, cough and colds, vomiting and diarrhea, and rabies.

As sore eyes leads to blindness when mistreated, the DOH advised the importance of proper hand washing and medical consultation before using eye drops.

The department also reminded that sunburn can be prevented by avoiding outdoor activities from 10 am to 2 pm, hiding in shaded and cool places, and using sunscreen products with at least Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 30.

DOH also warned the public that swimming in dirty water or unmaintained public swimming pools may cause skin diseases. “Remember to take a bath before and after plunging into the pool and please do not urinate in the pool,” DOH said.

Moreover, they advised senior citizens and dog bite victims to get influenza and rabies vaccination respectively.

“Remember to keep yourself healthy and safe. Let us all have an enjoyable, disease-free… summer. May papel tayong pangalagaan ang ating kalusugan (We have a role to safeguard our health),” Garin ended.

Full copy of the DOH’s statement can be viewed at ■

Summer is the best time to have fun and travel. But, it is also the time to catch viruses like measles.


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 58,000 of suspected cases of the virus outbreak were already reported in the country with 21,420 confirmed cases and 110 deaths in 2014.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also added that 25 United States (US) travellers were infected with the virus after visiting the Philippines.


Among the symptoms of measles are high fever, cough, rashes, runny nose and red watery eyes. Some people can also experience ear infection, diarrhea, and pneumonia.


To avoid the outbreak, the Department of Health (DOH) conducts vaccination campaigns. One dose for infants aged 6-11 months and two doses for children aged 12 months and above are advised.


CDC also encouraged maintaining proper hygiene and cleanliness such as washing of hands, using sanitizer when soap is not available and covering mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.


Furthermore, consulting medical experts after experiencing the symptoms is recommended.


Further details about measles outbreak in the Philippines can be viewed at You can also visit to learn more about the virus. ■

Pursuant to Republic Act No. 10532 known as the Philippine National Health Research System Law, the Philippine Health Research Ethics Board (PHREB) has set requirements for accreditation of all Research Ethics Review Committees (RERCs) in the country to ensure adherence to the universal principles for the protection of human participants in research.

Based on the guidelines issued on 02 February 2014, all RERCs which currently conduct review of research proposals must undergo accreditation by PHREB by 30 December 2015. All ERCs desiring Level 3 accreditation should apply before 30 April, 2015 to enable the PHREB Sub-Committee on Standards and Accreditation to schedule the applicant ERC for the accreditation visit before 30 December 2015.

As one of the implementing agencies of the Philippine National Health Research System, the Department of Health issued Department Circular no. 2015 - 0059 to facilitate the accreditation of all DOH RERCs and require them to apply before the set deadline.

DOH RERC MEMO 27 Feb 2015

Henipavirus, a virus that usually infect horses, caused human deaths in Tinalon and Midtungok villages, Sultan Kudarat, according to a study conducted by the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of Agriculture (DA), and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Henipaviruses include two members: Hendra virus (HeV) and Nipah virus (NiV). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HeV had caused a total of 11 outbreaks of acute respiratory diseases among Australia’s horses in 1994. Four of the outbreaks had infected the humans as a result of direct contact with the infected animal. The NiV, on the other hand, caused severe neurological and respiratory diseases on pigs, resulting to deaths of pig farmers in Malaysia in 1998.

As a response to the reports of human deaths in the two villages, 17 case-patients were interviewed and subjected to blood testing.

Results found out that virus transmission to humans was caused by direct exposure to infected horses, contact with contaminated body fluids during the slaughter of sick horses, and consumption of undercooked meat of infected animals.

Cases of human-to-human transmission, caused by not using protective gears during the contact with infected patients, were also discovered.

The study stated that the most likely sources of the horse infections were pasture and feed contaminated with feces, urine and other excretions of fruit bats (Pteropodidae family) found in one of the two villages.

Ongoing surveillance is encouraged to prevent future outbreak.

This study entitled “Outbreak of Henipavirus Infection, Philippines, 2014” is available at